As of 2024, travel to Kenya will be visa-free for all citizens of African countries. Citizens of 25 other countries are also able to enter Kenya visa-free.
Other travelers and visitors to Kenya need a visa, but they are easy and inexpensive to obtain as most are issued promptly after an online application. There is a lot to see and do in Kenya, and your visa must cover the full period of your stay. Make sure you know the requirements before your Kenya Safari.
Read on for everything you need to know about Kenya visa applications, including costs, the documents you need, and which countries require a visa.
Do I Need A Visa To Visit Kenya?
According to Kenya Visa Eligibility, most nationalities in Category 2 need to apply for an eVisa online before arriving in Kenya. Some nationalities are exempt and do not require a visa to enter, which is classified as Category 1, and a small number in Category 3 require referred visas, meaning they must go to the local Kenyan embassy before arrival.
Who can visit Kenya visa-free?
Kenya’s President William Ruto recently announced a plan to end all visa requirements for visitors from all African countries by 2024.
Travelers under 16 are often exempt but check directly for specific visa requirements for your nationality. Citizens of 25 other countries also do not need a visa to visit Kenya. Check the official complete eligibility list, which includes:
How to apply for Kenya tourist visa?
Apply for a tourist visa through Kenya’s official eVisa website. (This is the only official portal, others are scams). Create an account with a username and password, and keep it handy because you can log in to see your application status.
You will need to provide your travel itinerary. You will also have to upload a recent color photo taken in the last 6 months. Give yourself enough time before you travel to complete the visa application since you might need to supply details of where you are staying.
While the website says visas are issued within 48 hours, we suggest that you give yourself a buffer in case of any delays. After submitting application, some applicants might be asked to provide more information about their stay or their hosts.
The Kenya visa service indicates you will receive an email confirmation of your application or payment, but this is not always the case – do not panic if you don’t get anything via email. Instead, log in with your username and password to check the status of your visa. You can also check the dedicated Verify an eVisa portal.
When your Kenya visa is issued, print out some copies (one in color) to take with you to Kenya, and download the PDF so you have a digital copy saved to your phone.
Related information on Kenya e-visa application:
Approval Time: The e-Visa takes a maximum of 48hrs to approve but can be issued in a much shorter period. Availability in different languages will be looked into but poses a challenge for local Immigration Officers who may not be familiar with different languages.
Auto Save: The ability to auto save Kenya visa applications has been updated to the system. Should the system “hang”, one can refresh the page then click on the “history” tab to access the information saved.
Payments: The system currently only accepts Visa and Mastercard and arrangements are in progress to include American Express, Union Pay, and PayPal. Critical to note is that when making payments, the system sends a One Time Password (OTP) for the owner of the credit card to confirm. Failure to enter this OTP has been a cause for card payment decline.
System Downtime: The E-visa system has very little downtime but is occasionally taken offline for system upgrade. During the downtime, a message shall be displayed indicating the system was offline for upgrade and the time this would take.
How much does a Kenya tourist visa cost?
The standard Kenya visa or single entry visa costs US$51 which includes the service charge. All online payments for a Kenya visa are taken in US dollars.
You can use this to enter Kenya once for business, tourism, medical or other reasons. The single-entry visa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue.
Your passport needs to have at least 6 months’ validity from the date of entry, and you must have a return ticket. Kenya also offers a multiple-entry visa for US$101, which is great if you are planning at least two safaris to Kenya in a year.
It is valid for three to 12 months from the date of issue. Multiple-entry visas often need more paperwork, so some travelers prefer to apply for a single-entry visa each time; however Kenya’s visa service is getting better and faster online.
Does Kenya have a transit visa for short stays?
If you are in Kenya for less than 72 hours and want to leave the airport, you do not need a full visa. You can apply for a transit visa instead, which costs US$21 plus service charge.
If your flight connects directly and you are not leaving the airport, you do not need a Kenya visa at all. If you are also visiting Rwanda and Uganda, look into the East African Tourist Visa which cost US$101.
Can I extend my Kenya visa to stay longer?
You can extend your Kenya visa for 90 days by applying for the Visitor’s Pass Extension through the Department of Immigration Services. Set up an account, and after submitting your application, print out the form, sign it and take it to the Immigration Counter at Nyayo House in Nairobi city for processing, along with your passport and original visa document.
Does Kenya offer a working holiday visa?
Kenya does not offer a working holiday visa. However, you will need a work permit from the Department of Immigration Services. It is illegal for any foreigner without a legal work permit to be employed in Kenya, including volunteering and self-employed work.
If you are planning to volunteer or have an internship or other work placement in Kenya, ask the host organization or company for advice on the correct work permit.
The East African Tourist Visa is an option
The East African Tourist Visa is a perfect option if you are planning on visiting the three East African countries Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. The cost for this multiple-country tourist visa is US$101 and is valid for 3 months from the date of issue. You can apply online. Once it is issued, print out your eVisa to show to immigration officials at your first port of entry, where you will receive an East Africa visa sticker for your stay.
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